These days publishing a book whether it be traditionally published or self published doesn't end with the writing. The author now has to do a large proportion or all of the marketing.
As the book was hitting the shops I was sitting down to write the press releases. A traditional publisher will probably send a press release to the local press but little more. It's up to the author to find a hook that will get a wider variety of newspapers interested.
The publisher will probably also send out a generic press release with details of the book, publisher and author. After making a list of all the newspapers published in Scotland, my first thought is 'what's in it for them?'.
Well the first one was easy. I chose the paper local to the place I grew up and headed it 'Former Alva Academy Pupil publishes New Book.'. It's easy to see what would interest the local paper, it's a compliment for the local School. This as it turned out, was also the first press release to appear in the paper.
So, what about the others. First start with a good heading. Scotland's Hidden Harlots and Heroines tells 300years of Scottish History through the eyes of the nation's women. These women came from all over Scotland, from Galloway to John O'Groats, so I found a paper that covered the area they lived in and wrote the article around each woman. Not all of the women in the book are heroines though, so a little careful editing had to be done. Maud Gaunt, accused of doing unspeakable things to her female servant with a piece of clay shaped like 'ane part of a man', might not be suitable family reading.
The press release itself should be sent as an attachment with any relevant photographs (300 dpi for printing) though it's best if you keep those to a minimum and of course, include a photograph of the author. At the bottom make sure all contact telephone and email addresses are listed and finish with saying that the author is available for interviews and writing articles. All press releases are written in the third person. A good idea is to try and fit the article into one page so that a journalist just taking a cursory look doesn't need to scroll down.
A covering email that doesn't just say 'Press release' attached also needs to be sent. Place your heading in the subject box and then in the body of the email give a brief summary of the contents of the press release, check everything, edit if necessary, check again and press send.